As the world ponders its future after coronavirus, many are wondering when we’ll get back to business. Specifically, many travelers are asking when will it be safe to fly again, specifically on commercial airlines. We spoke with Magellan Jets Chief Operating Officer and Head of Safety and Service Quality Todd Weeber for his thoughts on the future of commercial aviation, how private jets will provide much needed solutions and more.
When will it be safe to fly? The future of commercial airlines
What’s the reality of the situation? When will it be safe to fly on commercial airlines again?
It is going to take a long time. Commercial airlines need to properly re-configure policies, procedures and aircraft to accommodate emerging health and safety requirements. At the moment, there is too little known about permanent changes that may be necessary. As a result, the airlines are moving painfully slowly toward spending time and resources on modifications that will ensure the safety of crews and passengers in the new normal.
At some point in the near future, demand for appropriately modified travel arrangements will be strong. But, the supply of airlines, business aircraft operators and destinations with the capability to maintain a safe environment will be slim. In the short-term, demand will outpace supply, so if you are considering flying privately, we recommend booking now.
Do you expect changes to the regulatory environment?
We believe that commercial airlines, business aircraft operators and destinations will be required to comply with a slew of new regulations from multiple agencies. The Federal Aviation Administration issued requirements to airlines and operators just last Friday that cross-referenced practices and procedures from a significant number of federal and international agencies and groups. It will be impractical for large groups of people, such as an airline organization, to comply with all of the requirements before a vaccine is in wide use. However, business jet operators and specific destinations are another matter. Working with smaller groups of people in a controlled environment will allow a faster return to safe social interaction for those willing to adapt and comply much faster in a private environment than in a mass-transit and large-scale resort environment.
How can passengers make safe travel plans?
In addition to meeting new regulatory requirements specific to the transportation, housing and hospitality sectors, we recommend that our members, clients and their guests look for evidence that transportation and hospitality companies have awareness of and the ability to operate according to the specific guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization for easing social distancing restrictions and self-quarantine. For example, destinations that demonstrate:
-Disease transmission is under control
-Health systems are able to detect, test, isolate, and treat every case and every contact
-Minimized hotspot risks in vulnerable places such as nursing homes
-Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventative measures
-The risk of importing new cases is manageable
-Communities are fully educated, engaged, and empowered to live under a new normal
When it’s safe to fly, will there be a ‘new’ way to vacation?
It’s a global recession, so the “new vacation” will be a working vacation. Domestic destinations will include flights on business jets to hospitality locations that meet the above criteria, plus feature something for business and family alike. Locations will be more intimate, like Aspen or Telluride. Also, beach houses anywhere in America, hunting and fishing trips, and small-scale resort destinations. Unique solutions such as yacht-borne business vacations and “clean conferences” will emerge. States with a low transmission rate will be our first picks.